Sleep Cycle Stages – Are You Making It Through Each One?
Every night, people go through multiple phases of sleep. If they don’t make it through each and every one of these sleep cycle stages, they can end up having what’s known as sleep debt.
Sleep deprivation is something that millions of people deal with on a nightly basis. The reasons they suffer from this are varied.
Some people have so much stress in their lives that they can’t fall or stay asleep.
Others have a spouse who snores. Still, others suffer from something known as Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome.
And there are some who focus on one type of sleep cycle over the others. Understanding why each of the sleep cycle stages is important is one important step you can take in finding a sleep solution that works best for your needs.
4 Sleep Cycle Stages – What They Are and Why They’re Important
To take steps to avoid sleep debt, it’s first important to know why each phase of sleep is vital. Understanding this will give you the impetus needed to stick with various sleep solutions and techniques.
1. Stage One – Non-REM
This first phase is the lightest phase of sleep. You are still easily awoken during this period. When you first doze off, your brain produces alpha and theta waves.
Your eye movements also start to slow down. This phase typically lasts for around seven minutes, though it varies depending on your age.
2. Stage Two – Non-REM
This is the second light phase of sleep. Though still easily woken, the brain starts to produce sleep spindles, which is an increased brainwave frequency.
The increase is usually in response to external stimuli. What’s interesting about this stage is that, though fairly light, it’s the phase that people are in the longest each night. In total, you’re in this phase almost 50% of the night.
3. Stage Three – Non-REM
Some people say there are actually five sleep phases. Phase three and four are sometimes combined, but they are the deeper phases of Non-REM sleep and lead into the REM phase.
During this stage, the brain starts producing delta waves, which is a slower brainwave. This is a very deep phase of sleep, so much so that you’re basically in a paralyzed state. Your eyes won’t move and neither will your muscles.
It will also be harder to wake during this phase because the body isn’t as responsive to external forces. This deep phase of sleep allows the body and mind to detoxify, rejuvenate, and repair itself. The body uses this time to boost immune function and build up energy for the following day.
4. REM Sleep
For most people, it takes about 90 minutes to get into the REM phase of deep sleep. This stage can last approximately an hour, and you’ll likely have around five or six REM cycles during the night, as long as you sleep the whole night through.
REM sleep is when you dream, process information, and store that information into your long-term memory. Your brain is extremely active, which is why the eyes move rapidly during this phase. Your heart rate and blood pressure tend to increase as well. And your breathing becomes shallow and fast.
Why You Might Not Be Making It Through All of the Sleep Stages
Any number of sleep disorders and circumstances can contribute to sleep debt by interrupting the sleep cycle stages. These can include:
• Snoring sounds from your partner
• Having to wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom
• Dealing with heartburn or other digestive issues
• Sleep apnea
• Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder
• Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome.
Figuring out what’s keeping you up can help you find the right sleep solutions to fit your needs.
Steps You Can Take to Get a Better Night’s Sleep
Here are some sleep solutions that might help.
• BiPAP and CPAP Masks – If you have sleep apnea, you won’t sleep well because your breathing is obstructed. Pressurized air machines with BiPAP or CPAP masks can help you achieve deep sleep by pushing air into your airway all night long.
• Essential Oils for Snoring – Some essential oils are really helpful for relaxing the body so that you fall into your sleep cycles really quickly.
And there are even some essential oils for snoring – those that can reduce the likelihood of making snoring sounds during the night.
• Chin Straps and Dental Devices – As you sleep, your muscles relax and your lower jaw can slide back causing slight obstruction that can cause snoring. Chin straps and dental devices pull the jaw forward and keep you from breathing solely through your mouth.
• Having a Regular, Relaxing Evening Routine – One of the most important things you can do to get a good night’s sleep is having a regular routine.
Put on some soothing music or nature sounds. Drink some chamomile tea. Turn off all your electronic devices an hour before you go to sleep. Take a brief, warm shower. All of this can help you relax and fall asleep faster.
A Good Night’s Sleep – It Doesn’t Just Feel Good, It’s Vital to Your Health
Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most wonderful things in the world. Doesn’t it feel great to sleep the whole night through and to wake up full of energy?
If you’re not experiencing that on a regular basis, you could end up developing some very serious health conditions.
Granted, everyone has a sleepless night every now and then. But if you go night after night without sleep, you need to find some sleep solutions fast. Lack of sleep contributes to everything from car accidents to high blood pressure. It also leads to poor job performance, irritability, depression, and reduced immune response.
You don’t have to end up like this, though. With assistance from your doctor and sleep specialists, you can find sleep aids and techniques that will finally give you night after night of great sleep.
Would you like more sleep solutions? We have more product reviews on our website. We’re sure you’ll find something that will help you achieve a deep and restful sleep.
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